Wednesday, September 16, 2020

{Cover Reveal} ABOUT TOMORROW by Abbi Glines

 



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Title: About Tomorrow...
Author: Abbi Glines
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Day: December 14, 2020
Cover Designer: Damonza


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About Tomorrow...

I close my eyes as I hear him speak. I take one very long and deep breath hoping to calm the immediate butterflies that take flight in my stomach and hope to slow down the racing of my heart. The voice was slightly deeper but the timbre was one that was achingly familiar.

My actions did little to help, but then who was I kidding? A deep breath wasn't going to fix the effect he had on me and my body's inevitable reaction. Even the memories that would forever haunt me couldn't keep my emotions from triggering at the nearness of him once again.

I used to pray that I'd find the strength to move on from him, from the pain that the end carried, from the emptiness in my chest, but ultimately move on from—the loss of Creed Sullivan and the death of his sister, Cora.

The Sullivans had been the best part of my summers in New England.

Deep down, I knew my ache for all that I had lost was the reason I returned...

But I hadn't expected to see him again—especially not like this.



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Enter the pinned post giveaway for a chance to win this prize pack of a Rae Dunn Halloween mug, a Tory Burch face mask, and three signed books HERE!


 

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Abbi Glines is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, Field Party and Existence series. She never cooks unless baking during the Christmas holiday counts. She believes in ghosts and has a habit of asking people if their house is haunted before she goes in it. She drinks afternoon tea because she wants to be British but alas she was born in Alabama. When asked how many books she has written she has to stop and count on her fingers. When she’s not locked away writing, she is reading, shopping (major shoe and purse addiction), sneaking off to the movies alone, and listening to the drama in her teenagers lives while making mental notes on the good stuff to use later. Don’t judge.

You can connect with Abbi online in several different ways. She uses social media to procrastinate.

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

If You Like That... Read These (Sleepy Hollow)

 


Hey Bookdragons! Fall is Coming! (although let's be honest, September 1st is the beginning of the fall season to me.) I don't know about you, but I have plans to read all kinds of thrillers, mysteries, and spooky books to get the feeling of the season. And one of my favorite classic books and it's movie adaptation is the perfect fall read...


Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is the quintessential fall read and if you love it as much as I do you'll want to devour all the retellings. Retellings you say? Yes!! Retellings aren't just for fairy tales! There have been quite a few amazing Legend of Sleepy Hollow retellings and I'm here to tell you about them. Each of these are unique takes and reimaginings of the classic story. There's a little something for every reader. Most of these I've read and loved but there are a few that are still on my to-be-read list...

The Hollow (The Hollow Trilogy Book 1) by Jessica Verday


The Hollow trilogy by Jessica Verday is the first Sleepy Hollow retelling I read. It also blossomed my interest in perfume making. 

Wake the Hollow by Gaby Triana
While not my favorite Sleepy Hollow retelling, I did really enjoy this book. It's a standalone, so no cliffhanger endings. It also brings in one of my favorite female authors, Mary Shelley. Diversity alert: The main character Micaela is half Cuban. 

The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck
I almost don't want to include this book on this list since it was a near DNF for me but it is supposed to be a Sleepy Hollow retelling... before the author got sidetracked maybe? Anyway, I see some people on Goodreads liked it so I guess it's hit or miss. Like I always believe, you need to be the judge. You may love what I dislike and I may dislike what everyone else loves.

Crane (The Legends Saga Book 1) by Stacey Rourke
Crane is the most recent Sleepy Hollow retelling I've read and it's my second favorite after the Hollow Trilogy. Ireland is a spunky lead and I love that Stacey incorporated Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle into the Legend's origin story. P.S. the second and third books bring in Edgar Allan Poe and H.G. Wells so if you love classic gothic lit you must read these books!

Before I move on to retellings I haven't read here's some Shameless Self Promotion...

Headless by Taylor Fenner
Headless is my new adult debut and much sexier than any of my other books. As for the retelling part, our heroine Cora is the Headless Horsewoman taking vengeance on the men of modern-day Sleepy Hollow. 

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo

This one sounds like an interesting historical fiction retelling and one of the few retellings I've seen set during the actual time period which The Legend of Sleepy Hollow takes place. And Katrina turning to witchcraft? Sign me up!

For all these books and more including tv show and movie novelizations visit:

Monday, August 31, 2020

{Blog Tour} WHERE DREAMS DESCEND by Janella Angeles


Hey Bookdragons! Today I'm part of Wednesday Books's Where Dreams Descend Blog Tour. Where Dreams Descend was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 but more on that later. First, a little bit about the book...


In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.


Early Praise
"Janella Angeles steals the 2020 show with her fiercely imagined debut starring larger than life characters, a dangerous world alive with magic, and a dizzying dose of grab-a-fainting-couch-and-swoon-away romance!" - Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves

"Where Dreams Descend is a glamorous dark gem of a tale, sparkling with romance, magic, and intrigue. Readers will be captivated by prima donna Kallia as the mystery is slowly unmasked. Bravissima!" - Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

“Lavish and opulent in a way that feels warmly familiar yet demands your attention. There are secrets upon secrets, a girl who’s boldly ambitious, and truly riveting stage magic. I didn’t want the show to stop.” - Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints

"Vibrant imagery, jaw-dropping set pieces, sizzling romantic tension, and unstoppable heroine Kallia bring this ambitious debut novel to spectacular life. Fans of Caraval and The Night Circus will be delighted!" - Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn 

"[A] spellbinding melody of a book, and the true magic is how Angeles puts all the best parts of an enrapturing theatrical performance onto paper and ink. From the gripping twists in the first pages all the way to the final, heartbreaking crescendo, Where Dreams Descend will surge you to your feet in a standing ovation.” – Sara Raasch, New York Times bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy

EXCERPT:
Never come to Hellfire House without wearing a mask.

It was one of the rare rules in a joint without any. The only rule the master of the club did not mind following. He blended in with the sea of suits and white masks that arrived every other night, switching appearances from crowd to crowd. A bartender one moment, a dealer at the card tables the next.

Only his face remained the same, half-masked and haunting. Like a prince who relished the bloody crown on his head, and the ghosts that came with it. A face almost hardened by beauty, though glints of youth ran deep beneath soft black eyes. It always shocked new guests, to see him. The master of the House was rumored to be a dragon of a man. A monster. A magician who had no mercy for fools.

Only those who dared slur the word boy in his face understood how true those rumors were.

To the rest, he played the devil on all shoulders, leading patrons to his bar and game tables, guiding them toward his enchanted smoke lounge to drown in curated memories. The warmth of first love, the heady rush of triumph, the immense joy of dreams come true. The master kept a selection of sensations, and one hit of the pipes delivered magic the people came crawling to his house to taste.

They had no idea the show that was in store for them.

The master of the House sipped his short glass of scarlet whiskey in peace, tapping along the wide black strip over his brass knuckles. He’d long since manipulated his attire, sitting casually at a card table and savoring the mayhem. Raucous cheers erupted from the next table as dice rolled out across the surface. Smiling Hellfire girls in black blazers and masks of lace denied patrons begging for a dance. Loudest of all, the dealer’s crisp shuffling of the black cards with teeth-white numbers before she doled out hands to players at the table.

“No, no more,” one moaned. “I can’t.”

“Sure you can, chap.” A young man in a white thorn-edged mask cheerfully pressed him back in his seat. “We can’t leave. Haven’t even finished your drink, yet.”

His drunken friend’s mouth puckered under another gulp. “Think it’s true, the drink? Magician’s Blood, the menu said.”

“Think you have power, now?” Thorn Mask laughed, leaning back to appraise the club. “Here, you take your magic where you can get it. You wear a mask. You flip a card, smoke a memory. Or you look up . . . at her.”

The master’s fingers tightened around his glass, just as the lights dimmed. Dancers cleared the floor under the hush of music, shifting from smooth, steady beats to a racing rhythm loud as thunderous applause.

Right on cue.

The band’s worth of instruments he’d charmed for the night started up a wild entry tune of drums, the thick trill of trumpets. Chatter ceased and backs straightened as a beam of light speared toward the ceiling. A panel slid open over the dance floor.

And the chandelier descended.

Strings of crystals dangled along tiered rims of rose gold, cutting sharply into a jewel-set swing where a masked showgirl sat. A throne of glittering jewels, casting luminous lace across the walls and the ground and the audience taking her in. Her brown skin glowed against her corset, red as her gem-studded mask. Arms stretched out, she crossed and extended her legs in smooth lines all the way down, until her heels touched the lacquered black dancefloor. With the hint of a smile, she rose from her throne and stalked forward, thrusting a hand up with a snap.

Darkness engulfed the room.

Hoots and hollers rang at the drop of the beat, before a glimmer of her form reappeared in the shadows. The room pulsed at her command, matching the spike of heartbeats the master sensed throughout the club.

The smirk on his lips matched the girl’s as she arched her back to the raw stretch of the melody. She thrived under the attention, like a wildflower under the sun. A star finding the night.

His star.

“I’ll be damned.” The drunk at the card table breathed in awe, as the girl’s palms began brightening with a molten glow. “Nothing like an academy girl.”

“Worth the trip, right?” His friend clapped a hand on his shoulder.

“I didn’t know they could be magicians like . . . this.”

The master smothered a dark scoff under a sip of whiskey. The girl showed off good tricks—improvised and bettered from his basic crowd-pleasers. Treating the ceiling like a sky and showering comets from it, casting an elaborate shadow show of dancing shades over the floor, shifting every candlelight in the room to different colors to the beat of the music.

But always the performer, she preferred to be front and center. Teasing her power just enough to make the audience want more of her magic, more of her.

He wet his lips as flames shot from her hands, arcing over her head and around her body. The fire’s melody bent to her every movement, and she gave everything to it. If she wasn’t careful, she’d overexert herself like she did most nights, never knowing when to stop. How to pull back.

Careful never was her strongest suit.

Sparks fell before her, sizzling on the ground. Unafraid, she sauntered down her stage of flames with slow swaying hips and a firelit smile.

“Magicians like this are best kept a secret,” Thorn Mask went on. “And besides, the work is far too scandalous for a lady. Only clubs will take them.”

“What a shame. Imagine going up against the likes of her at the competition.”

The master paused, drawing his gaze back to his glass.

“Not this again. That flyer was nothing but a joke.” Thorn Mask slapped the table with a groaning laugh. “A prank.”

The drunk sloppily patted around his coat, pulling from his breast pocket a dirty, scrunched ball of paper. “It’s real. They’re all over the academies, in Deque and New Crown and—”

“A prank,” repeated Thorn Mask, unfolding the flyer anyway. “It has to be. No one’s been to that city in ages, it would never open itself to such games.”

“That makes it all the more interesting, don’t you think?” As another roar of cheers erupted around them, the friend sipped his drink smugly. “Imagine if she entered, the city might implode.”

“Right. As if that would ever happen.” Thorn Mask leered. “Competition would eat a creature like her alive.”

“Because she’s . . . ?”

With an impish lift of his brow, the man in the thorny mask flicked the flyer off the table and returned to his forgotten spread of cards. “Let’s get on with the game, shall we?”

Before he could gesture at the dealer, the master suddenly appeared at their table, snatching the young man’s wrist in a biting grip. The man yelped as the force knocked over his drink, and sent a stream of hidden cards spilling out from his sleeves.

“What’s this?” The master bent toward the ground and picked up a couple, entirely too calm. “Cheating in my house?”

The man froze, recognition dawning at the brass knuckles alone. “Where did you—I-I mean,” he sputtered, patting frantically at his sleeve. “That’s impossible. Those aren’t mine, I swear.”

“Then where did they come from?”

Sweat dripped from his temple, his face paler than the white of his mask. “I emptied my pockets at the door. Honest.”

Honest. That was the best he could do? The master almost laughed.

“You want to know the price cheaters pay in my joint?” His question offered no mercy. Only deliverance, served on ice. “Memories.”

“No, please!” The man’s lip trembled. “I didn’t, I-I’ll do whatever you want!”

“This is what I want.” The master rose from the table with the jerk of his wrist. The cheat flew to the ground in a gasp as he gripped at the invisible chain-like weight around his neck. Sharp, staccato breaths followed the master as he dragged his prisoner toward the smoke dens.

The man screamed, but no one heard him. No one saw, no one cared. All eyes fell on the star of the show as she searched for a dance partner to join her. The drunken friend, noticing nothing amiss, raised his half-full glass of Magician’s Blood to his lips before waving his hand high like the others. The man thrashed harder, only to feel his cries smothered and deeper in his throat. His form, invisible at the sweep of the master’s hand.

With a disdainful glance, the master chuckled. “You’re only making this more difficult for yourself. One memory won’t kill you.”

At once, he paused. The lights blinked around them, the air grown still. Dim and hazy, as though locked in a dream.

He thought nothing of it until he caught the movements of the patrons—their arms raised and waving slowly, increment by increment. Their cheers dulled and stretched into low, gravelly roars, as if the sound were wading through heavier air. Against time itself.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

The sound of her voice slithered around him, stopping the master in his tracks. The man quieted. Sweat soaked his pale face, his chest heaving. The showgirl stood in their path, every stare in the room still locked on the spotlit floor where she’d been. As though she’d never left.

Impressive.

Her red corset glinted as she cocked her hip and pointed at the man on the floor. “I choose him.”

She could never let things be easy.

“Kallia,” he growled, warning.

She smiled. “Jack.”

“Pick another. He’s a cheater.”

Her lips pursed into a dubious line. “Then let me teach him a lesson. He’ll no doubt prefer it more.” She swung a leg over the man’s prone form so she stood directly above him. Invitation dripped from the crook of her fingers. “The music calls, darling. Let’s have ourselves a grand time.”

The man’s terror turned swiftly into awe, and he looked at her as if ready to kiss the ground she walked on. As soon as he took her beckoning hand, the room resumed its lively rhythm—a song snapped back in full swing. The cheers and hollers returned to their normal speed, exploding in delight as patrons found their lovely entertainer in their midst, her chosen dance partner in tow.

She bypassed the master, pressing a casual hand on his chest to move him. It lingered, he noticed. Unafraid, unlike most. Their gazes locked for a moment, their masked faces inches apart.

No one ever dared to get this close. To him, to her.

Only each other.

At the next round of cheers and whistles, she pushed him away, smug as a cat. Tugging the man close behind her, she sent fires onto the ground that illuminated her path and warded others from trying to follow them to the stage. Never once looking back at the master, even as he watched on after her.

His fist tightened, full of the cards from his earlier trick. They disappeared into mist, having served their purpose. Along with the flyer he managed to grab.

He didn’t even bother giving it a read. It died in the fire caged by his palm. Tendrils of smoke rose between his brass knuckles, and when he opened his fingers, nothing but ash fell to the ground.

My Review:
The thing I liked most about this book was the world-building. The atmosphere of Hellfire House intrigues the reader right away, unfolding in the mind and tempting you to explore further.

That being said, this book dragged for me. I actually tried three times to get into it unsuccessfully over a period of months that I've had this book sitting on my shelf. As I mentioned above, this was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 and the intro to the book did grab me but after that? I just couldn't keep my attention on the page. So I did what any frustrated reader would do - I read ahead. And it does pick up. At the end. It's like all the exciting stuff is jammed in at the last 1/3 of the book. 

When the description of this book was put on Goodreads calling it "Moulin Rouge meets Phantom of the Opera and The Night Circus" I was so ready for this book. But I didn't get that at all reading it other than maybe Kallia was supposed to be like Nicole Kidman's character in Moulin Rouge? 

I don't know, maybe I didn't give this book enough of a chance --- but I mean, three attempts? --- and maybe someone will enjoy it more than I did. I honestly think I've been reading too much fantasy and it could be burnout. Overall, it was okay in spots but not enough to encourage me to pick up the next book.

My Rating:
🌟🌟
2 of 5 stars!

About the Author:

JANELLA ANGELES
is a Filipino-American author who got her start in writing through consuming glorious amounts of fanfiction at a young age—which eventually led to penning a few of her own, and later on, creating original stories from her imagination. A lifelong lover of books, she's lucky enough to be working in the business of publishing them on top of writing them. She currently resides in Massachusetts, where she's most likely to be found listening to musicals on repeat and daydreaming too much for her own good. Where Dreams Descend is her first book.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Series Review: Brody Brothers by Stacy Gail

A few weeks ago I signed up for an Instagram sales blitz for a book by an author I wasn't familiar with, in a subgenre I usually avoid: Cowboy Romance. I live in Wisconsin. I know what "farmers" look like and don't think of them as romantic possibilities. But when I read the description and trigger warning for Broken (Brody Brothers book 4) that both characters came from broken, abusive childhoods I decided to sign up. The blitz came with an ARC and I immediately started reading.

I didn't expect to be unable to put the book down but I couldn't stop reading. And once I was done I picked up the first three books as a birthday present to myself. Reading them back to back it's only fair to review these books as a whole. 


In Branded (Book 1) we meet Celia and Ry. Celia is a graphic designer and Ry is the second oldest Brody Brother. We quickly learn that Celia got a little too drunk at a belated birthday bash her friends threw for her at a local bar in Bitterthorn, TX (where the series is set) and grabbed one of the "untouchable Brody Brothers"'s ass. Ry humiliated Celia by spanking her in front of the whole bar and she's steered clear of him ever since just like all the men in Bitterthorn have been treating Celia like a leper. 

Like all the books I loved the chemistry between Ry and Celia but I hated Ry's over the top possessiveness. It's a theme throughout the series. When one of the Brodys decide a woman is theirs then no other man should look at, speak to, or think about "his woman." It's stupid and honestly brings up a lot of red flags. But the more I read the books the more I was able to roll my eyes and ignore it because overall I did like the books. Ry enlists Celia to help him market his organic beef project in book one and you get to see them falling in love as Ry tries to show Celia all the reasons she should say in their tiny little Texas town. And I love Celia's friends and neighbors. Each of the female leads in this series get friends and supporters you'd love to have in your life.


In Braced we meet the third oldest of the four Brody brothers, Fin and nearly graduated veterinarian Lilah. This one is a second chance romance, which is a favorite romantic trope of mine. Lilah and Fin grew up together and Lilah was in love with Fin all along but a one night stand between the two torpedoes their friendship. But once Fin gets his $h!t together his focus is solely on making amends with Lilah and showing her that he's grown from the prick he was after the night they shared. 

In a way, I liked Fin the most because he's not as much of a possessive, crazy jerk as the rest of the brothers. Lilah's biggest hurdle in this book is the brainwashing her mother has projected at her her whole life that she'll never be good enough for a Brody boy and here's Fin trying his damnedest to prove otherwise. 


Bruised brings us oldest Brody brother, Killian and Dallas - youngest Brody Brother Des's half-sister through their mother and the spitting image of the woman who torpedoed Killian's parents' marriage. I actually did not think I would like Killian at all because he was background noise in the first two books but since I'd read the fourth book first (Des's book) I thought Killian was kind of a dick. But other than Fin, I actually ended up liking Killian the most. Like Dallas, I realized my first impression of him was totally wrong.

His tough exterior leads to a big teddy bear who, once he gets over his prejudice toward Dallas because of her mother's affair with his mother, does everything in his power to erase the scars of the past and show Dallas that there is good in the world. 


Finally, Des and Winnie's book, which was the first one I read and the reason I one-clicked the rest of the series. Des is this brooding, healing man who lived through hell at the hands of his father's wife simply for existing. He's paired with Winsome Smiley whose family has been feuding with the Brodys over land for generations. Equally broken after a childhood of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse at the hands of her father and mistakenly thinking Des and his brother Fin were making fun of her when they rode the same school bus as kids they come together perfectly as they both learn that they are not what their abusers tried to diminish them into. 

I loved this story so much I read it twice. Once at the end of July and then again after I'd read the first three books. I didn't think I'd like any of the other books as much as this one, but they all leave you feeling good at the end and give you the range of feels. 

Verdict:
Series Rating:

4.5 of 5 Stars
I definitely want to read more by Stacy Gail.

Highlighted Quotes:

“Imagine falling in love with someone at the very beginning of your life, and it’s a love so big it blots out the sun." 
- Stacy Gail, Braced

"life is actually more about horseshit than dreams coming true.” 
- Stacy Gail, Braced

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

19 Actors You Never Knew Guest-Starred on Murder, She Wrote

 

One thing you need to know about me... I love Murder, She Wrote. Even though the series ended when I was only four years old and I didn't start watching it in reruns until I was a preteen/teen it immediately became one of my favorite binge-worthy shows, long before Netflix or Hulu or streaming services became a thing. But as I was rewatching it this past year I noticed actors I recognized that I never realized were on the show in guest-starring roles. 

19 Actors You Never Knew Guest-Starred on Murder, She Wrote

1. Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line, Joker)


2. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) 


3. Hayley Mills (The Parent Trap)

4. Dick Butkus (Chicago Bears Football Player)

5. Rue McClanahan (Golden Girls)

6. Michael Constantine (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)

7. George Takei (Star Trek)

8. Charlie Daniels (Country Music Singer)

9. Macdonald Carey (Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of A Doubt)

10. Jeffrey Tambor (How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Transparent)

11. Teresa Wright (Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt)

12. Meagan Mulally (Will and Grace)

13. Betsey Palmer (Friday the 13th)

14. Farley Granger (Strangers on a Train, Rope)

15. James Coburn (Snow Dogs)

16. Gail O'Grady (Various Lifetime Movies)

17. Amy Brenneman (Judging Amy, Private Practice, The Jane Austen Book Club)

18. Jonathan Scarfe (Nora Robert's Carolina Moon)

19. Anthony Michael Hall (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club)

Other actors you'll recognize who guest-starred: George Clooney, Marcia Cross, Tippi Hedren, Mickey Rooney, Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner, Janet Leigh and Courtney Cox

Read NIGHT OF TERROR